Responsibility to Animals

The following is from an article titled, The Buddhist’s Responsibility to Animals by Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett. The article first appeared in the Journal of the Zen Mission Society, August 1970 and was later reproduced in the Memorial Issue of the Journal of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives Winter 1996/Spring 1997. Copyright O.B.C. 1997.

I have often thought that if some of the rich people who give so happily to animal welfare associations could be persuaded to give a little of their money to advertising in newspapers descriptions of specific animals who, for lack of homes, were to be destroyed that very day, they might do more good in solving the unwanted animals problem than in buying new humane killers for the societies to use. I have yet to find any person who could resist the appeal of a fellow creature about to face death. As the Buddhist teaching in the oldest of Scriptures says, ‘All men fear punishment, all men fear death.’ To know that a fellow creature faces that very situation within a few hours might bring the truth of the plight of animals home more clearly than any amount of beautiful society buildings could. After all, a good building gives the impression that the animals are being well cared for and need no assistance. A prominent picture in a newspaper, however, with the caption, ‘To Die Today’, would be much more effective in making the public realize its responsibilities and obligations.

I know of a woman who read this article and took this advice to heart. She regularly publishes photographs of dogs in the local newspaper that are about to be killed if they are not adopted. She says all the animals are adopted. All of them!

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2 thoughts on “Responsibility to Animals”

  1. Here in Germany we also have shows on our local tv stations each week. The animals from local shelters are introduced during the show. It’s really cool and one of our favourite shows! Friends of mine in Denver are “foster parents” for cats. They take in cats with behavioural problems and work with them until someone is ready to adopt them. It’s wonderful and rewarding work. Here’s the link to the society…they have some great pictures of the “foster” kids to be adopted!

  2. when I made this posting that the practice of advertising animals about to be killed in papers and generally in the media is common practice in many places. Thanks for the link Jack.

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